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Brandon A. Sherrod and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

Morbidity associated with surgical site infection (SSI) following nonshunt pediatric neurosurgical procedures is poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to analyze acute morbidity and mortality associated with SSI after nonshunt pediatric neurosurgery using a nationwide cohort.

METHODS

The authors reviewed data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric (NSQIP-P) 2012–2014 database, including all neurosurgical procedures performed on pediatric patients. Procedures were categorized by Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes. CSF shunts were excluded. Deep and superficial SSIs occurring within 30 days of an index procedure were identified. Deep SSIs included deep wound infections, intracranial abscesses, meningitis, osteomyelitis, and ventriculitis. The following outcomes occurring within 30 days of an index procedure were analyzed, along with postoperative time to complication development: sepsis, wound disruption, length of postoperative stay, readmission, reoperation, and death.

RESULTS

A total of 251 procedures associated with a 30-day SSI were identified (2.7% of 9296 procedures). Superficial SSIs were more common than deep SSIs (57.4% versus 42.6%). Deep SSIs occurred more frequently after epilepsy or intracranial tumor procedures. Superficial SSIs occurred more frequently after skin lesion, spine, Chiari decompression, craniofacial, and myelomeningocele closure procedures. The mean (± SD) postoperative length of stay for patients with any SSI was 9.6 ± 14.8 days (median 4 days). Post-SSI outcomes significantly associated with previous SSI included wound disruption (12.4%), sepsis (15.5%), readmission (36.7%), and reoperation (43.4%) (p < 0.001 for each). Post-SSI sepsis rates (6.3% vs 28.0% for superficial versus deep SSI, respectively; p < 0.001), wound disruption rates (4.9% vs 22.4%, p < 0.001), and reoperation rates (23.6% vs 70.1%, p < 0.001) were significantly greater for patients with deep SSIs. Postoperative length of stay in patients discharged before SSI development was not significantly different for deep versus superficial SSI (4.2 ± 2.7 vs 3.6 ± 2.4 days, p = 0.094). No patient with SSI died within 30 days after surgery.

CONCLUSIONS

Thirty-day SSI is associated with significant 30-day morbidity in pediatric patients undergoing nonshunt neurosurgery. Rates of SSI-associated complications are significantly lower in patients with superficial infection than in those with deep infection. There were no cases of SSI-related mortality within 30 days of the index procedure.

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Brandon A. Sherrod, James M. Johnston and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

Hospital readmission rate is increasingly used as a quality outcome measure after surgery. The purpose of this study was to establish, using a national database, the baseline readmission rates and risk factors for patient readmission after pediatric neurosurgical procedures.

METHODS

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program–Pediatric database was queried for pediatric patients treated by a neurosurgeon between 2012 and 2013. Procedures were categorized by current procedural terminology (CPT) code. Patient demographics, comorbidities, preoperative laboratory values, operative variables, and postoperative complications were analyzed via univariate and multivariate techniques to find associations with unplanned readmissions within 30 days of the primary procedure.

RESULTS

A total of 9799 cases met the inclusion criteria, 1098 (11.2%) of which had an unplanned readmission within 30 days. Readmission occurred 14.0 ± 7.7 days postoperatively (mean ± standard deviation). The 4 procedures with the highest unplanned readmission rates were CSF shunt revision (17.3%; CPT codes 62225 and 62230), repair of myelomeningocele > 5 cm in diameter (15.4%), CSF shunt creation (14.1%), and craniectomy for infratentorial tumor excision (13.9%). The lowest unplanned readmission rates were for spine (6.5%), craniotomy for craniosynostosis (2.1%), and skin lesion (1.0%) procedures. On multivariate regression analysis, the odds of readmission were greatest in patients experiencing postoperative surgical site infection (SSI; deep, organ/space, superficial SSI, and wound disruption: OR > 12 and p < 0.001 for each). Postoperative pneumonia (OR 4.294, p < 0.001), urinary tract infection (OR 4.262, p < 0.001), and sepsis (OR 2.616, p = 0.006) also independently increased the readmission risk. Independent patient risk factors for unplanned readmission included Native American race (OR 2.363, p = 0.019), steroid use > 10 days (OR 1.411, p = 0.010), oxygen supplementation (OR 1.645, p = 0.010), nutritional support (OR 1.403, p = 0.009), seizure disorder (OR 1.250, p = 0.021), and longer operative time (per hour increase, OR 1.059, p = 0.029).

CONCLUSIONS

This study may aid in identifying patients at risk for unplanned readmission following pediatric neurosurgery, potentially helping to focus efforts at lowering readmission rates, minimizing patient risk, and lowering costs for health care systems.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Samir Lapsiwala and Bermans J. Iskandar

Object

The clinical diagnosis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt malfunction can be challenging. In this prospective study, the authors evaluated a common method of interrogating shunts: the shunt tap; specifically, its ability to predict proximal malfunction.

Methods

The authors performed standardized shunt taps in a consecutive series of cases involving children with suspected or proven shunt malfunction, assessing flow and, when possible, opening pressure. Data were collected prospectively, and results analyzed in light of surgical findings.

Results

A shunt tap was performed prior to 68 operative explorations in 51 patients. Of the 68 taps, 28 yielded poor or no CSF flow on aspiration. After 26 of these 28 procedures, proximal catheter obstruction was identified. After 28 taps with good CSF return and normal or low opening pressure, 18 shunts were found to have a proximal obstruction, 8 had no obstruction, and 2 had a distal obstruction. Another 12 taps with good CSF flow had high opening pressure; subsequent surgery showed distal obstruction in 11 of the shunts, and proximal obstruction in 1. The positive predictive value of poor flow was 93%, while good flow on shunt tap predicted adequate proximal catheter function in only 55% of cases.

Conclusions

Poor flow of CSF on shunt tap is highly predictive of obstruction of the proximal catheter. Because not all patients with good flow on shunt tap underwent surgical shunt exploration, the specificity of this test cannot be determined. Nonetheless, a shunt tap that reveals good flow with a normal opening pressure can be misleading, and management of such cases should be based on clinical judgment.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Timothy M. George, John Kestle and Bermans J. Iskandar

Object

The purpose of this study was to report the results of a survey of the American Society of Pediatric Neurosurgeons (ASPN) on treatment of Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) with syringomyelia.

Methods

A questionnaire was circulated during the 2006 meeting of the ASPN, in which surgeons were surveyed on their management of patients with CM-I and syringomyelia. The survey consisted of questions about 4 clinical scenarios, common causes of surgical failures, and complications.

Results

There were 72 respondents, representing more than 90% of attendees at the 2006 ASPN meeting and approximately half of the society's members. The majority of respondents (85%) reported that they perform posterior fossa decompression as first-line treatment for CM-I with syringomyelia. Seven percent perform bony decompression alone, 36% open the dura, and 27% shrink the tonsils. Very few respondents indicated that they offer syrinx drainage as first-line therapy (< 3%). Although all respondents reported that they treat symptomatic CM-I/syringomyelia patients surgically, 15% of respondents indicated that they do not operate on asymptomatic patients. Finally, respondents stated that their most common complications are pseudomeningocele and chemical meningitis.

Conclusions

This survey, given to a representative group of experienced North American pediatric neurosurgeons, confirms that posterior fossa decompression is still the preferred treatment modality in children with CM-I and syringomyelia, regardless of symptoms. Although most surgeons open the dura, preferred techniques for decompression vary. In contrast to the results of past surveys, conservative follow-up is now only used by a minority of respondents and only in the asymptomatic patient, and primary syrinx drainage seems to have lost popularity. A multicenter trial of surgical outcomes has been designed based on the information from this survey.

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Betsy Hopson, MSHA, Elizabeth N. Alford, Kathrin Zimmerman, Jeffrey P. Blount and Brandon G. Rocque

OBJECTIVE

In spina bifida (SB), transition of care from the pediatric to adult healthcare settings remains an opportunity for improvement. Transition of care is necessarily multidimensional and focuses on increasing independence, autonomy, and personal responsibility for health-related tasks. While prior research has demonstrated that effective transition can improve health outcomes and quality of life while reducing healthcare utilization, little is known about the most advantageous transition program components/design. The individualized transition plan (ITP) was developed to optimize the readiness of the adolescent with SB for adult healthcare. The ITP is a set of clearly articulated, mutually developed goals that arise from best available data on successful transition and are individualized to meet the individual challenges, needs, and attributes of each patient and family.

METHODS

Prospectively completed ITPs were retrospectively reviewed from June 2018 to May 2019. Demographic and disease characteristics were collected, and specific goals were reviewed and categorized.

RESULTS

Thirty-two patients with an ITP were included. The cohort was 50% male and had a mean age of 16.4 years. For goal 1 (maximize education), the most common goal was to complete a career interest survey (44%), followed by researching application/admission requirements for programs of interest (25%), shadowing in and/or visiting a workplace (16%), and improving high school performance (16%). For goal 2 (bowel management), most patients (59%) had a working bowel program with few or no bowel accidents. Eight patients (25%) were having more than the desired number of bowel accidents and received formal consultation with a gastroenterologist. Five patients (16%) needed only minor adjustments to their bowel management regimen. Goal 3 (SB program coordinator goal) focused on documenting medical and/or surgical history for the majority of patients (66%). Other goals aimed to increase patient communication in healthcare settings or utilize available community resources.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors developed an evidence-based ITP that focuses around 5 goals: maximizing education, bowel continence, and goals set by the SB clinic coordinator, parent/caregiver, and patient. Although developed for the authors’ SB clinic, the ITP concept is applicable to transition of care in any chronic childhood illness.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Kaushik Amancherla, Sean M. Lew and Sandi Lam

Cranioplasty is routinely performed following decompressive craniectomy in both adult and pediatric populations. In adults, this procedure is associated with higher rates of complications than is elective cranial surgery. This study is a review of the literature describing risk factors for complications after cranioplasty surgery in pediatric patients. A systematic search of PubMed, Cochrane, and SCOPUS databases was undertaken. Articles were selected based on their titles and abstracts. Only studies that focused on a pediatric population were included; case reports were excluded. Studies in which the authors assessed bone flap storage method, timing of cranioplasty, material used (synthetic vs autogenous), skull defect size, and/or complication rates (bone resorption and surgical site infection) were selected for further analysis. Eleven studies that included a total of 441 cranioplasties performed in the pediatric population are included in this review.

The findings are as follows: 1) Based on analysis of pooled data, using cryopreserved bone flaps during cranioplasty may lead to a higher rate of bone resorption and lower rate of infection than using bone flaps stored at room temperature. 2) In 3 of 4 articles describing the effect of time between craniectomy and cranioplasty on complication rate, the authors found no significant effect, while in 1 the authors found that the incidence of bone resorption was significantly lower in children who had undergone early cranioplasty. Pooling of data was not possible for this analysis. 3) There are insufficient data to assess the effect of cranioplasty material on complication rate when considering only cranioplasties performed to repair decompressive craniectomy defects. However, when considering cranioplasties performed for any indication, those in which freshly harvested autograft is used may have a lower rate of resorption than those in which stored autograft is used. 4) There is no appreciable effect of craniectomy defect size or patient age on complication rate.

There is a paucity of articles describing outcomes and complications following cranioplasty in children and adolescents. However, based on the studies examined in this systematic review, there are reasons to suspect that method of flap preservation, timing of surgery, and material used may be significant. Larger prospective and retrospective studies are needed to shed more light on this important issue.

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Brandon G. Rocque, Betsy D. Hopson and Jeffrey P. Blount